A friend of mine called recently. He had just met with an agent about representing his first novel. That's the stage when an aspiring writer probably feels most excited and most vulnerable. The hope that one of your dreams might come true is accompanied by the realization that the mechanisms of publishing are a complicated mystery and you need a Virgil to guide you through its circles. You seek a lot of advice during this period, and you get a lot of it too. Some of it good, some of it irrelevant.
I told him that the agent-writer relationship is basically about trust more than anything, and so asking another person whether this agent would be a good fit is sort of like asking a friend if you should get married to a person that friend doesn't know. Sometimes you just know when it's right. Other times there's only one person who wants to marry you.
On request I once shared my getting-an-agent story (including query letter), but I suspect other writer's stories are more informative or interesting or funny. Surely there are some things you should look for in a good agent, and some warning signs of a bad one. We've touched a bit on this before at The Outfit, but what are some of your agent tales, good and bad? And what are some of your getting-an-agent questions?
Unrelated except in a lazy, kitchen-sink Friday way: Over at the Infinite Summer blog I go deep into the history of an urban legend that gets recycled in the book Infinite Jest (be sure to follow the endnotes for some entertaining links). It might be of interest even to those who haven't read the novel. More significantly, the excellent discussion that follows in the comments about the appropriateness of such appropriation is relevant to anyone who writes fiction for a living I think.
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